Seton-La Salle girls win 6th WPIAL title
Seton-La Salle sophomore Shaunay Edmonds doesn't get a lot of attention in a lineup of taller, more prolific players.
The 5-foot-4 guard stood tall Friday as the Rebels won their third WPIAL Class AA girls basketball championship in four years, and sixth overall, at Duquesne University's Palumbo Center.
Edmonds tied a game-high with 15 points and helped a pickpocket defense force 25 turnovers in a 55-34 victory over previously unbeaten and No. 2 seeded Burrell.
“Everyone talks about the Pitt girls, but (Edmonds) is one of those unsung heroes,” Seton-La Salle coach Spencer Stefko said. “She brings so much energy, especially on the defensive end.”
Next month, Burrell coach Meghan Ziemianski will coach an all-star team. She coached against one in Seton-La Salle, with its three Pitt recruits — seniors Yacine Diop and Naje Gibson, and junior Cassidy Walsh.
Diop, a transfer from Oak Hill Academy (Va.), also scored 15 and grabbed 14 rebounds.
Edmonds, though, took advantage of her moment under the bright lights. She even blocked a shot by Burrell 6-foot-1 center Jessica Cercone.
“I just try and time the steal,” Edmonds said, “then go for it.”
When candidly asked if Edmonds will be the next player to get an offer from Pitt, Stefko said, “I'll plead the fifth on that one; but whoever gets her is getting a diamond in the rough.”
Burrell (25-1) looked out of sorts in its title-game debut, falling behind 11-0 early, 32-12 by halftime and 41-21 after three quarters.
The Rebels (22-4) limited Burrell's offensive chances. The defensive swipes were so clean that Burrell did not attempt a foul shot the entire game.
Burrell used its first timeout after Seton-La Salle took a 4-0 lead off a pair of steals.
“I wanted to settle them down,” Ziemianski said. “(Seton-La Salle's) athleticism and quickness is something we haven't seen. We were mentally exhausted early.”
Pressure led to a pair of 12-0 runs for Seton-La Salle, the first that pushed the lead to 23-7, and the second made it 50-21 — its largest advantage.
Edmonds capped the second run with a layup off a nifty pass from Gibson.
“We wanted to put a lot of pressure on the ball,” Stefko said. “We didn't want Bordonaro to get going. You can play that kind of defense when you have five players working together.”
Burrell got 14 points from junior guard Sydney Bordonaro. The Pepperdine recruit hit four 3-pointers and scored 11 in the second half but she couldn't move a mountain.
“I think maybe we played a little scared,” Ziemianski said. “I don't even think it was the venue. It was their speed, their pressure. As soon as (Stefko) yelled ‘fire,' I knew they were coming to trap.”
Sophomore forward Natalie Myers was held to four points after recording a double-double in the previous three playoff games.
Gibson scored 10 for the Rebels.
Burrell was without one of its starters for more than three quarters. Senior guard Jaila Manga was taken to the hospital to get treatment for a cut on top of her head. The cut, which she suffered after taking an elbow to the head while going for a rebound about three minutes into the game, required three staples.
Manga returned to the bench late in the fourth quarter.
Seton-La Salle will play Blairsville, the third-place team from District 6, in the first round of the PIAA playoffs. Burrell gets the Karns City/Clarion-Limestone loser.
Bill Beckner Jr. is a staff writer for Trib Total Media. Reach him at firstname.lastname@example.org.